Yesterday’s post got me thinking about childhood pets that used to be really popular so today’s little thing is a baby turtle. In the late 70’s I had a friend up the street who had 3 of these little guys and I used to visit them. Actually the kid was sort of weird and there was always something a bit off about him, but since he had baby turtles and I didn’t, that meant he was my friend. Things were a little more black and white in childhood.

The turtles were super cute, but I forget what their names were. What I remember more were the various urban legends of baby turtles being flushed down toilets only to live on as large sewer creatures. These stories would later become the foundation for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the early-mid 80’s. This was disturbing to me and I remember telling my “friend” to promise never to flush them down the toilet. He just looked at me strangely and was probably thinking there was something a bit off about me, but since I liked his turtles, I was his friend.

Large turtle creatures were one thing, but as late as the 60’s there were still souvenir shops in Florida selling baby alligators to stupid tourists as novelty souvenirs. The stories still being told when I was a kid varied, but usually once the surprising discovery was made that baby alligators don’t stay that size, the parents would flush them down the toilet. The creatures would then live on and strike fear in sewer workers or any curious child who might go exploring under ground. As a kid, this was both terrifying and exciting all at the same time.

As an adult, I look back and think some parents must have been amazingly stupid or just rather cruel. I can’t imagine anyone being shocked that a living thing doesn’t stay a baby forever. And flushing any living thing down the toilet is just a horrible thought to me now. But I can see the allure, as I think pretty much any baby version of any creature is pretty cute. Except for spiders. They just look weird and scary at any age.

I almost chose baby animals as my theme for this month, but decided on little things so I could have a bit of flexibility. But I love them, so I’m sure they’ll be lots more coming. As for the baby turtles, I never knew what happened to them. The kid up the street moved to some small town I’d never heard of before and the turtles presumably went with him. It was for the best, I guess, since our relationship was built on a mutual admiration that had nothing to do with each other. And it was entirely likely, he was right, and I was the weird one.

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Azo Green, Quinacridone Gold, Ultramarine Blue, Burt Sienna, Sap Green, Phthalocyanine Green, Cobalt Blue, Neutral Tint and Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

Recommended1 recommendationPublished in By Charlie

49 thoughts on “Baby Turtles

  1. The baby turtle is adorable! Wonderful textures and color variation! I actually have never heard of that urban legend about baby turtles. Did you see that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are coming back to the big screens? Not a whole lot of originality in the movies lately. I hope I get to see more baby animals! ❤️

    1. Thanks Kari! Glad you liked this! Actually I think the alligators were the primary legend, but the turtles popped up too where I lived. And yeah…they keep trying to relaunch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but it looks so weird when they do! And you’ll definitely be getting more baby animals. Hehe 😉

  2. Wonderful painting of the turtle and the egg shell. Love your sense of humor in the stories you tell.
    A few years ago we saw baby snapping turtles break out of their eggs and head to the lake. Can you believe I stood there and sketched the process. Every spring we go back there thinking the story is going to repeat itself. Not!

  3. Turtles and tortoises are remarkable creatures. It’s amazing to me that there so many different kinds and sizes. Your little turtle fellow turned out great! I think that same kid lived in our neighborhood. Hehe

  4. Very reptilian painting. As usual, I’m particularly taken with the expression on his face.
    We had turtles as kids, but as I recall they never lived very long. My brother would also bring home box turtles to keep in the tree well in our backyard. He fed them raw hamburger meat. Eventually he’d get bored with them and take them back to the woods. (K)

    1. Thanks Kerfe!! I sort of make up the expression on reptiles…they don’t seem to have quite as much in my references. 😊 I had another, less weird friend with a box turtle. I also remember painting turtle shells at some point. Wonder what your brother’s turtles thought of their little vacation… must have been like visiting a resort to get hamburger meat!

  5. Love your turtle Charlie and this is a great theme…combo platter of small and baby. I hadn’t heard of people flushing turtles, just alligators which still kind of freaks me out.

    Hope re-entry into the work world goes smoothly for you today…back to a full 5 days, sigh.

  6. Your turtle is beautiful. I’ve always thought turtles really cool and I think at one stage we were actually going to get some, but we never did unfortunately. I guess there’s still time! The flushing is sad… and as for alligators, it’s insane to think people would see fit to buy one in the first place. Why on earth?

    I don’t think I’ve ever watched TNMT – I think my brother liked it but it was just before my time. Am I missing out?

    1. I have no idea on TNMT…I didn’t really watch it but Philippe liked it! And people are just weird and apparently dumb if they think baby alligators are separate breed and don’t grow up! Lol Since I haven’t seen TNMT you’ll be thankful to know you don’t have to add that to your already burgeoning watch list. 😉

  7. Thanks Charlie for making me laugh! 😃 I really hope you do write that book and include some of your wonderful humor in it! 😜 I’d by it in an instant! 👍💖💕 As for flushing animals down the toilet, I think this should be outlawed – even if the animal is dead. My hubby wanted to flush a dead mouse one time and I kept envisioning it coming back alive and biting it in my a*# so I made him bury it in the forest. Lol! Your baby turtle is fabulous! 😄🐢💜

    1. Awww thanks Jill! If I ever manage to write enough to fill a book I might consider it! Hehe ❤️😃😊 And that’s hilarious! I agree! I’d be worried of the same thing. As my mother always said, better safe than having your a*# bitten! Actually she never said that, but it would have been sound advice if she had.

  8. Love your turtle painting and your story. It is depressing how many people think nothing of flushing away small creatures like this. And, of course, it doesn’t stop there. Other animals may be too large to flush but abandoned pets are legion. I’ll never understand that.

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